New coronavirus ‘exposure logging’ tool appears on smartphones without users downloading it
A NEW coronavirus tracing software tool has appeared on smartphones without users having downloaded it.
The “Covid-19 Exposure Logging” tool appeared in the settings of Android phones and iPhones as part of an upate of their operating systems.
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The tracker tool is not a tracing app itself and although it has been automatically installed on many phones, it is currently turned off and not available for use.
It enables an app to run in the background while still using Bluetooth.
Once active, the tracker is expected to measure the difference between two phones and then alert the tracker owner if someone near them later tests positive for coronavirus.
The exposure logging tool will work in conjunction with the future Government app, known as the “Exposure Notification API”, which is still under construction.
Computer scientist Professor Alan Woodward of Surrey University told the BBC: “This is not a new app but is an extra element added to the phones’ operating systems to enable approved developers to build apps that can potentially warn of proximity to infected individuals.
“Only apps approved by Google and Apple will be included in their app stores where they try to make use of this facility.”
People expressed confusion at the sudden appearance of the exposure logging tool on their phones.
the fact that they added COVID-19 exposure logging to our phones w/o our permission & didn’t tell us is why we have every right to never trust anything.
— B. (@DontWorryBoutB) June 20, 2020
In other news, our phones now have COVID-19 exposure logging which have the ability to tell you if you’ve been at risk of being exposed. My question is, how does my phone know? pic.twitter.com/tqqKkQuvnJ
— Supa Sista (@DontForgetTheU) June 19, 2020
It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed yesterday that the NHS was abandoning its current version of its crucial contact tracing app.
He said the current centralised version developed by the NHS will be merged with a separate platform developed by Apple and Google, because neither work properly.
“Our app works well on Android, but Apple software prevents it being used effectively for contact tracing unless you’re using Apple’s own technology,” said Mr Hancock.
“After we started work on our app, Google and Apple started working on their own product. Our app wont work because Apple wont change their system, but it can measure distance.
“And their app can’t measure distance well enough to a standard that we are satisfied with.”
NHS England has said Brits will not be forced to download the Exposure Notification API once it’s live.
iPhone users can find the exposure logging tool in their settings by going to ‘privacy’ and then selecting the health option.
A description underneath the first tab states: “When enabled, iPhone can exchange random IDs with other devices using Bluetooth.
“This enables an app to notify you if you may have been exposed to Covid-19. Exposure Logging cannot access any data in, or add any data to, the Health app.”
Android users can find the tracker under the ‘google settings’ header after first heading to the ‘settings’ section.
“Your phone uses Bluetooth to securely collect and share random IDs with other phones that are nearby,” says a description on Android phones.
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“Random IDs are automatically deleted after 14 days.
“If you have Covid-19 you can choose to share your phone’s random IDs with the app so that it can notify others anonymously.
“Device location needs to be on to detect Bluetooth devices near you. However Covid-19 exposure notifications don’t use device location.”
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